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Map of current habitat degradation from the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment.
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The United States is home to a diverse array of freshwater and marine fish, shellfish, and other aquatic species. More than 3,000 species of fish inhabit America’s streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, marshes, swamps, bays, estuaries, coral reefs, seagrass beds, shallow water banks, deep ocean canyons, and other aquatic habitats. The United States is also home to more than 322 million people, 39% of whom live near the coasts and all depending on the same water that fish call home. In 2012, approximately 25 percent of the nation’s acreage was agricultural and 6 percent was developed. However, these and other consequences of human inhabitation affect much broader areas by altering water flow (hydrology), water quality,...